After coming out with the win in their season opener, the Syracuse Orange (1-0) will look to move to 2-0 against the Morehead State Eagles (1-1) Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. Despite their poor shooting from deep Tuesday night, the Orange used their high pressure press to generate enough easy shots to win.
The Orange are likely to be without senior point guard Frank Howard once again, so they’ll look to their role players to step up in his absence.
The new and improved press
The Orange scored 33 points off of turnovers, and that was in large part due to their press. With Oshae Brissett playing the top of the press, the Orange are able to use their length and athleticism to make it hard for the opposing guards to get the ball over half court.
It’ll be interesting to see how it works against a top ACC team, but it’s important in the meantime for the press to work in order to build up some confidence.
Marek Dolezaj playing the five
Marek Dolezaj isn’t the tallest big man on the Orange, but he sure played like it in the opener. Dolezaj was a huge factor in the Orange’s first win of the season, and a lot of his minutes were played at the five.
His ability to dive for loose balls and poke out steals makes him a versatile tool for coach Jim Boeheim to use down-low. Dolezaj is also versatile on the offensive end when he is playing the five, as the Orange become faster and a better shooting team when the Slovakian forward plays big.
Tyus Battle at point guard
Tyus Battle’s early season struggles (preseason and the opener) may stem from his position change. With Howard out, Battle has had to step up and take the point guard reigns, which has disallowed him to play off ball where he excels so well.
Battle is a scoring guard, but he needs to play more of a playmaking role with the team’s injuries. In order to get back into his dominating ways, Battle needs to be aggressive from the tip and look to score.
Slowing down Morehead State’s offense
The Eagles have a very balanced offense, as they have four players averaging double figures in scoring in the early season. The Orange will look to their zone to contain the numerous scorers on the Eagles by containing them on the perimeter, but it’ll be their press that’ll give the ball handlers more problems.
Oshae Brissett’s dribble penetration
Brissett stepped up in a massive way in the opener, and the Orange needed his stellar performance with their shooting woes from deep. Brissett finished the game with 20 points, and it was his ability to get the rim that made him so hard to stop.
The sophomore forward looked more confident shooting the ball too, and they’ll need his scoring once again if they want to continue their perfect start.